Motorola turbo-charges digital radios
Despite its attributes, which include a plethora of advanced features, digital radio so far has found application primarily in the public-safety and government sectors, largely because of the high cost of digital equipment compared with analog gear, which has proved prohibitive for profit-driven entities.
Motorola plans to change that by introducing at IWCE 2006 (May 17-19 in Las Vegas) a new digital platform dubbed MOTOTRBO that the vendor giant will market to the “professional” sector, e.g., construction firms, transportation companies and public utilities. Better yet, Motorola has pledged to work with dealers to hold the line, keeping prices for MOTOTRBO handsets close to what these customers currently are paying for analog devices, to encourage them to make the migration.
Previously, Motorola developed a digital radio platform called the DTR Series for the commercial tier — businesses largely in the retail and hospitality sectors, where users generally are confined to smaller onsite footprints. However, the professional sector needed a more robust product capable of covering a much wider area, said Craig Chenicek, director of Motorola Radio Products.
“Three or four years ago, we spent a lot of time and independent research to look at customers in the professional sector to understand why they were buying certain products and not others,” Chenicek said. “We found that they were most interested in spectrum efficiency, improved basics, new features, applications that would integrate into their businesses and a comfortable migration path.”
According to Chenicek, MOTOTRBO — built on the ETSI DMR Tier 2 standard — delivers improved performance typical of digital platforms when compared with analog, such as better audio quality, increased coverage, improved battery life and privacy. But where the new platform really shines is in the area of spectrum efficiency, he said.
Motorola built MOTOTRBO using a two-slot time division multiple access (TDMA) platform that creates two independent 6.25 kHz voice channels within a standard 12.5 kHz channel. “It doubles the efficiency using a single [repeater],” Chenicek said.
He added that use of two-slot TDMA also results in higher data throughputs. “You need the wide pipe to get data down it, and [with MOTOTRBO], you still have the full use of the 12.5 kHz pipe.”
A digital radio geared to the professional sector, particularly in large urban centers, is good news, said Mike Ishida, director of sales for Day Wireless Systems, a Motorola dealer in Portland, Ore. “We operate in 30 different offices on the West Coast, from small rural communities to big metro areas, and in the metro areas we’re seeing spectrum-efficiency issues where this digital product is going to bring us some opportunities.”
Other features include GPS capability — making it easier for dispatchers to deploy the closest field technician to a given situation to realize improved operating efficiencies and lower costs — and an integrated text-messaging function that lets dispatchers communicate with field personnel when voice communications would be inappropriate.
Also, because MOTOTRBO radios can operate in both digital and analog mode, they are backward-compatible, which should further aid the analog-to-digital migration, Chenicek said. “This allows you to migrate channels, talk groups or entire systems over time,” he said. “For example, if you were expanding your network and needed another repeater, you likely wouldn’t buy an analog repeater, but instead would buy a MOTOTRBO repeater and use it in the analog mode. Over time, you could switch it to digital.”
Although such flexibility is important, Chenicek conceded that cost would be the primary driver for MOTOTRBO to gain traction in the professional sector. “In the business world, it comes down to the economics of the tools that you buy,” Chenicek said. “Will they pay themselves off and can you justify adding them to the business?”
Dale Purvis, president of COMSOUTH, a Motorola dealer based in Hattiesburg, Miss., agreed, adding that the time is right for MOTOTRBO.
“Over the years, people have asked about [digital] and wondered why they can’t get it when it’s already in the public-safety sector,” Purvis said. “A lot of it is cost-driven. Public safety a lot of the time has millions of dollars to spend on radio systems. Hospitals don’t place that kind of priority on their communications systems. But if we had [a digital product] on a lower level … the [professional] market would embrace it.”
Motorola came to the same realization, which is why the vendor is pledging to help hold down prices, according to Chenicek. “This is an incredibly important step. Fundamentally, we would like to see them over time migrate their system, but we didn’t want to punish them financially,” for doing so, Chenicek said. He added that Motorola decided it was willing to “compromise our financial position” by taking longer than usual to pay off an investment he described as the largest ever made by the vendor in the professional sector.
“We’re anticipating long-term gain because we’re confident that MOTOTRBO provides such increased functionality and operational efficiencies that people will want to move to digital faster,” he said.
HERE’S A SAMPLING OF THE PRODUCTS EXHIBITORS ARE PLANNING TO SHOWCASE:
Radio IP Software’s solutions let mobile users roam across a diverse range of public and private wireless network environments, including 802.11 hotspots, integrating all networks under a single interoperable TCP/IP standard.
Cape International’s IMPACT line of radio chargers includes an AC/DC six-bank unit and a rapid desktop charger. The six-bank unit incorporates a self-switching, dual-voltage power supply unit inside the anodized aluminum casing. All chargers use an interchangeable cup system to support most radio models. Vehicle and wall-mount kits are available.
IP-based radio control solution
IP|J-Smart, part of Catalyst’s line of radio control over IP solutions, is compatible with EFJohnson 5300 Series and Motorola Smartzone and Smartnet radios. The solution lets dispatchers push-to-talk, change channels, change talk groups, make private calls and receive emergency notifications.
Encryption board for two-way radios
Cimarron Technologies QuikSync encryption board for two-way radios lets users encrypt and send MDC-1200 or GE-STAR ANI messages. It features more than 4.2 billion possible keys for secure, high-level encryption. It is available in three models: encryption-only, encryption with ANI encode, and encryption with ANI encode and decode.
P25-compliant trunked system
EFJohnson’s IP25 Trunked Infrastructure System uses IP technology to integrate repeaters, a Project 25-compatible digital dispatch console and system management. The system supports over-the-air rekeying of radios as well as advanced voice and data encryption to meet federal information processing security standards.
Console dispatch system
Moducom’s UltraCom is an E911/radio dispatch console system with no software maintenance fees and free software upgrades. It is a Phase II-compliant system, providing E911, radio dispatch, mapping, interoperability/voice over IP and a CAD interface built into a single software application.
Narrowband portable radio
Icom’s 512-channel F3060 series portable radio operates in 6.25 kHz bandwidth. The radio offers built-in two-tone, five-tone, CTCSS and DTCS signaling. The LCD displays up to 24 characters on two lines. The F3060’s bridge-tied load amplifier increases the audio output, while the built-in compander provides clear, low-noise communications. The 1150 mAh lithium-ion battery provides eight hours of operation.
Paging encoder and repeaters
Pocsag paging encoders and repeaters from WiPath include a store and forward repeater for infill or range extension, cross-band and cross-protocol repeaters and alarm transmitters. A range of transmitter options is available from 100 mW to 5 W.
Transcrypt International’s encryption models for Kenwood two-way radios have been tested by the vendor and found to be intrinsically safe, according to Transcrypt. Encryption is available for TK-2180/3180, TK-2170/3170/3173, TK-290/390, TK-280/380 and TK-480/481 portable radios. In addition, the TK-5210 P25/FM portable also may be fitted with encryption for FM mode. Modules are available in a variety of levels based upon the radio users’ security needs.
Cable and antenna analyzers
Anritsu’s Broadband Site Master S810D/S820D cable and antenna analyzers cover 25 MHz to 20 GHz ranges. They offer standard return loss, VSWR, cable loss and distance-to-fault displays for installing, maintaining and trouble-shooting cables and antennas. An optional GPS receiver is available for providing location information with archived data.
The 15S5G7 and 30S5G7 are 15 W and 30 W amplifiers designed for the 5 GHz to 7 GHz frequency range. They are suitable for testing WiMAX components because the amplified signal produced is indistinguishable from a signal generator’s output, the company said.
Infinimode Systems offers its InfiniMUX G4 communications platform in a transportable case. The platform supports up to four mobile radios, four portable radios and two public-switched telephone lines. Other features include cigarette-lighter sockets for portable battery eliminators, a generic mobile radio mounting system and an LED gooseneck light.
Radio for harsh environments
HYT introduced the TM-800 Mobile Radio Series, designed to provide reliable communications under the harshest conditions. The radio is equipped with a built-in eight-segment numeric LCD, four programmable function keys and DTMF flexible dialing. The remote mount control head can be mounted on a vehicle’s dashboard without the radio chassis.
Digital base station supports analog
Daniels Electronics’ Integre Base25 is a digital base station that supports analog communications for existing portables and mobiles. It can be upgraded to support Project 25 digital portables for encrypted, secure communications.
Instant-recall digital recorder
Eventide’s DIR911t is an instant-recall recorder with two or four channels of digital recording. It offers playback and recording capabilities in a stand-alone unit. It has two telephone/auxiliary recording channels, each with 60 minutes of recording capability, and comes with a built-in, 10-minute uninterruptible power supply. It also offers password security.
STI-CO’s Interoperable Mobile Antenna can be used with VHF, UHF and 800 MHz mobile radios without installing additional antennas. The broadband antenna mounts on sedans, SUVs or vans with a magnet mount or NMO roof mount.
North American Battery Company’s Pulse Power Charging System is a multi-unit charger that conditions, monitors and charges land mobile radio batteries. It uses a single-bay charging unit as its base, but users can add up to five additional charging bays to create a six-bay charging unit to charge batteries independently or simultaneously while sharing a single power supply.
Locking docking station
National Products’ RAM Locking Powered Dock is designed to hold the Panasonic Toughbook PC. The docking station comes with USB port, keyboard, mouse, microphone, speaker and an optional internal GPS engine.
Speaker microphone tracks first responders
PRYME Radio Products’ PTG GPS speaker microphone uses GPS satellites to send automatic reports on a user’s position. Location designations are then displayed at the dispatch location using a PTG GPS base station and a PC running a dispatch- or mapping-software application. The system can be used with trunked and conventional radios.
Battery backup device
Innovative Circuit Technology’s Battery Backup Series adds a backup component to existing 12 V power supply installations. The device is microprocessor-controlled and provides zero switchover time from commercial supply to battery power. The relay operation is supplemented with bypass diodes to prolong relay life.
Tone remote controllers
Midian Electronics’ TRC Series of tone remote controllers are compatible with Motorola, Kenwood and M/A-COM signaling formats. Dialing and selective calling are supported using DTMF, five-tone, two-tone or pulse-tone formats. Options include customizable function, guard and monitor tones and line supervisor capability.
IWCE 2006 basics
Las Vegas Convention Center
Mon., May 15 and Tues., May 16, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Wed., May 17, 11:00 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.; Thurs., May 18, 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Fri., May 19, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Wed., May 17, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Thurs., May 18, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Fri., May 19, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Spectrum Utilization; Land Mobile Radio; Broadband Mobile Data; Emerging Technologies
Morgan O’Brien, co-founder and former chairman of Nextel Communications, Wed., May 17, 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Wed., May 17, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
“Katrina — Prepare for the Future,” Thurs., May 18, 8:30 to 10:00 a.m.; “800 MHz Rebanding — Where Are We Now?” Thurs., May 18, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.; “State CIOs — A Sampling of Successful Communications Initiatives,” Fri., May 19, 8:30 to 9:45 a.m.
More info: www.iwceexpo.com
|800 mHz Transition Administrator||659|
|AC Data Solutions||846|
|Advanced Charger Technology||1253|
|Advanced Labeling Solutions||532|
|AdvanceTec Industries Inc||440|
|Agiosat Global Communications||1525|
|Airwaves Licensing Assistance Inc||1050|
|Allied Moulded Products Inc||1247|
|Aluma Tower Company Inc||1451|
|Antenna Specialists – a brand of PCTEL Antenna Pro||926|
|Astra Radio Communications (ARC)||1453|
|Bard Manufacturing Co||752|
|Barrett Europe Limited||1360|
|BEE Electronics Inc||1226|
|Berkeley Varitronics Systems||1035|
|Bird Technologies Group||910|
|BlueSky Mast Inc.||1635|
|Bluewave Antenna Systems Ltd.||1629|
|Cadex Electronics Inc||643|
|Call24 Wireless Call Box Systems||944|
|Cape International/IMPACT Radio Acessories||1310|
|Cara Enterprises Inc||1737|
|Carlson Wireless Technologies||1459|
|Catalyst Communications Technologies Inc||1353|
|Centurion Wireless Technologies Inc||316|
|CES Wireless Technologies||1643|
|Childs Antennas LLC||623|
|China Industry Components Co.||1557|
|Cimarron Technologies Corp||1225|
|Cobalt Audio Video & Tribute911 Pager, div. of||357|
|Comarco Wireless Technologies||1456|
|Commtech Wireless Pty Ltd||325|
|Communications Applied Technology||1727|
|Computer Resources Inc||562|
|Comtelco Industries Inc||1234|
|Connect Systems Inc||832|
|Con-Space Communications Inc||857|
|Cook’s Communications Corp/FleetStat AVL||744|
|Cost Control Associates Inc||1261|
|CPI Communications Inc||1619|
|Cygnus Business Media||457|
|Dalman Technical Services Ltd.||1057|
|Daniels Electronics Ltd||1602|
|Datron World Communications Inc||650|
|David Clark Company Inc||632|
|David Levy Company Inc||1230|
|DCI – Licensing Assistance Office||1262|
|DCI Digital Communications Inc||662|
|Dekolink Wireless Ltd||1722|
|Delta Electronics Mfg Corp||1425|
|Digital Antenna Inc.||1252|
|Digital Dispatch Systems||1358|
|Digital Paging Co||330|
|Dupont Building Inc.||1349|
|DX Radio Systems Inc||1319|
|Dynamic Instruments Inc||239|
|EADS Secure Networks||937|
|Ear Phone Connection||1757|
|Electronic Systems Technology Inc||251|
|EnGenius Technologies Inc.||354|
|Enviro – Buildings Inc.||452|
|Exocomm Technology Group/ExoCel Batteries||1126|
|Federal Communications Commission||756|
|Flom Test Lab||1454|
|Forestry Conservation Communications Assoc. (FCCA)||456|
|Fred A. Nudd Corp||731|
|Futurecom Systems Group Inc||521|
|Harger Lightning & Grounding||551|
|Havis Shields Equipment Corp||1152|
|Hint Peripherals Corp||1553|
|Honeywell Batteries/Global Technology Systems Inc||1149|
|Hutton Communications Inc||514|
|I2S Technologies Inc.||1160|
|Icom America Inc||1100|
|Icom America Inc||1307|
|Infinimode Systems Inc.||833|
|Innovative Circuit Technology (ICT)||119|
|IP MobileNet Inc||1142|
|IPC Command Systems||619|
|JDI Jing Deng Industrial Co. Ltd.||1458|
|Jointcom Communication Technology Co. Ltd||860|
|JV USA Communications||1725|
|Kathrein Inc, Scala Division||1646|
|Kenwood USA Corp||100|
|Kenwood USA Corp||1730|
|Kirisun Electronics (Shenzhen) Co. Ltd.||253|
|KR Nida Communications||242|
|Kullman Industries Inc||825|
|Kyosey Company Ltd.||742|
|Leoni Site Solutions||1756|
|Light Speed Industrial Inc.||535|
|Lind Electronics Inc||1245|
|Link Communications Inc||1340|
|Locus Location Systems||725|
|M/A COM Inc||1300|
|Maxrad-a brand of PCTEL Antenna Products Group Inc||926|
|McKay Communications Inc||250|
|MCM Technology LLC||1752|
|Mercom Systems Inc||1540|
|Merry Electronics USA Co Ltd||1529|
|MicroPulse – a brand of PCTEL Antenna Products Gro||926|
|Microwave Data Systems||940|
|Midian Electronics Inc||519|
|Midland Radio Corp||508|
|Miller Building Systems||559|
|Mobile Radio Technology||1156|
|Mobile Satellite Ventures||1736|
|Mountain Union Telecom||1244|
|Multiplier Industries Corp||113|
|NABC, North American Battery Corp||1546|
|NARDA Safety Test Solutions||1719|
|National Emergency Number Association (NENA)||761|
|New-Tronics Antenna Corp/Hustler Inc||1332|
|NIC Technologies LLC||1133|
|Nighthawk Systems Inc||235|
|Omnitronics Pty Ltd.||453|
|PCIA — The Wireless Infrastructure Association||661|
|PCTEL Antenna Products Group Inc.||926|
|Positron Public Safety Systems Inc.||1256|
|Powerwave Technologies Inc||946|
|Primus Electronics Corp||1534|
|ProComm Americas Ltd. ‥Savox in the USA||1556|
|Project 25 Technology Interest Group||550|
|Pryme Radio Products||1242|
|R & R Design Inc||1632|
|Radiall/Larsen Antenna Technologies||808|
|Radio Club of America Inc||248|
|Radio IP Software Inc.||1656|
|RadioResource Media Group||634|
|RAM Mounting Systems||1144|
|Raytheon JPS Communications Inc.||929|
|RELM Wireless Corp||900|
|RF Imaging and Communications||1432|
|RF Industries/Connectors Division||823|
|RF Industries/Neulink Division||824|
|RF Technology Pty Ltd||1440|
|Rohn Products, div. of Radian Communications||856|
|Royal Communications International||1559|
|Sabre Towers and Accessories||343|
|Sales Force Testing Inc.||1462|
|SAMLEX America Inc||1600|
|Schwaninger & Associates||1533|
|Sentor Monitoring Systems Inc||1732|
|Shenglu Antenna Co. Ltd.||352|
|Shenzhen HYT Science and Technology Co. Ltd.||346|
|Shenzhen Voxtech Co. Ltd||238|
|Shulman Rogers Telecommunications Group||660|
|Shyam Telecom Inc.||350|
|Sierra Technology Inc||1729|
|SmarTrunk Systems Inc||1616|
|Sonik Messaging Systems||246|
|Southwest PV Systems Inc||237|
|Space Data Corp (SDC)||1751|
|Spectrum Firm Inc.||241|
|STI-CO Industries Inc||726|
|Stone Mountain Design||1640|
|Survey Technologies Inc||933|
|Swissphone Telecom AG||232|
|Systems Implementation Inc||845|
|T.W.P. Wireless Inc.||234|
|Tait Radio Communications||546|
|Talley Communications Corp||1549|
|TCC Industries Inc||840|
|Telex Communications Inc.||1706|
|Test Equipment Solutions Today||1162|
|Thales Communications Inc||540|
|Thermo Bond Buildings||1744|
|Times Microwave Systems||1520|
|TMC Radio PTY Ltd||956|
|Transcrypt International Inc||340|
|Trident Micro Systems||819|
|Troy Products (div of Troy Sheet Metal)||1350|
|TWR Lighting Inc||730|
|Unimo Technology Co Ltd||229|
|United Communications Corp.||556|
|United Telecom Council||1530|
|Valesco Battery Support Systems Inc.||1356|
|W&W Manufacturing Co||1613|
|Wade Antenna Ltd.||834|
|Wave Wireless Corp||934|
|Waveware Technologies Inc||1460|
|Whelen Engineering Co||1543|
|Wireless Accessories Unlimited (WAU)||1450|
|Wireless Dealer Magazine||1352|
|Wireless Pacific Limited||1745|
|Wireless S.A.M.S. LLC||459|
|World Tower Co||533|